No room here: developers of the largest resort planned for Phu Quoc island have been told to downsize the $1 billion project
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) recently returned the project’s approval application to Kien Giang provincial authorities for further evaluation before an investment certificate will be issued by the local government under the Investment Law.
Thai Dac Liet, director of Kien Giang province’s investment and planning department, said that Rockingham is looking to build a multi-function tourism area on the island in the next five to 10 years.
The US investor proposed to invest more than $1 billion in an area of 1,930 hectares for a tourism complex with restaurants, hotels, performance areas and marine entertainment facilities.
Liet said also that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had approved the plan for the island to develop tourism projects over almost 4,800ha in total in the next 10 years, adding that there were limits to development.
“Therefore we have to consider very carefully the project’s feasibility because the area which Rockingham proposed is too large,” Liet told Vietnam Investment Review.
Liet said the island is considered one of the best destinations for tourism development in the next five to 10 years and as such would attract more investors willing to pump money into lucrative projects.
He added that Kien Giang province had expressed its support for the investor, but that it would be easier if the land area required were scaled down. An area of 200ha was considered more reasonable.
He also said that some parts of the area that Rockingham proposed were previously given to domestic investors, and prospective developers would have to renegotiate.
Rockingham Asset Management LLC operates many large-scale property and tourism projects worldwide. If the license were forthcoming, it would be the largest project on the island, which has been zoned to become a regional hub under a government master plan.
Other projects scheduled for the island include a 20-hectare resort in Cua Can commune in the north of the island with a $12-million investment. The developer expects to begin construction on 50 villas and 30 bungalows in Cua Can targeting affluent travellers. It would employ more than 300 people.
Canadian investor Automind Capital has also proposed a $120-million tourism port, apartment and ecological reserve in the An Thoi township.
The US stands as the eighth largest foreign direct investor in Vietnam with 307 projects totalling $2.1 billion. The country expects to become one of the biggest investors in Vietnam in the coming years once the permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) Status is ratified by the US.
According to Kien Giang authorities, the government plans to turn the 561 sq.km Phu Quoc Island into a tourism hub due to its favourable location near Ho Chi Minh City, which receives 55 per cent of all international visitors to Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand, making it convenient for tourists in neighbouring countries to come for a visit on cruises.
The seas around Phu Quoc are also calm when the central coast is rough, enhancing its appeal.
No. 789/November 27- December 3, 2006